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On February 28, 2003, President Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive–5 (HSPD-5). HSPD–5 directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop and administer a National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents.

NIMS is a comprehensive, national approach to incident management that is applicable at all jurisdictional levels and across functional disciplines. The intent of NIMS is to:

  • Be applicable across a full spectrum of potential incidents and hazard scenarios, regardless of size or complexity.
  • Improve coordination and cooperation between public and private entities in a variety of domestic incident management activities.

Lessons learned from previous large-scale disasters point to a need for a National Incident Management System. Emergencies occur every day somewhere in the United Sates. These emergencies are large and small and range from fires to hazardous materials incidents to natural and technological disasters. Each incident requires a response.

Whether from different departments within the same jurisdiction, from mutual aid partners, or from State and Federal agencies, responders need to be able to work together, communicate with each other and depend on each other.

Until now, there have been no standards for domestic incident response that reach across all levels of government and all response agencies. The events of September 11 have underscored the need for and importance of national standards for incident operations, incident communications, personnel qualifications, resource management, and information management and supporting technology.

Excerpts Taken from: National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction IS-700

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